Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Experiences with German Soldiers

It was Wehrmacht.

Yes. Then he had a green uniform with brown patches on it. But they called him the Herr Commandant, and I remember we came--because of my cousin--her sisters were at that time must have been in their twenties, and from what I understand, they were, they were raped that night, and they had--their door was broken open with bayonets. And the next morning, when they came to us, they knew that the Commandant was in our house and my mother spoke German--she was talking to him, you know, we had very friendly relations, so she went out and told him, and he immediately said he's ordering an investigation, and supposedly arrested the soldiers because they checked everybody's bayonets and those that were bent and like that and he said ???. And every day we had--the Polish kids would lead Germans to our house, to our store and tell them that we have the--that we were the richest Jews and we had the--they would come in and pull out their guns and, tell me, "Where you got all the stuff hidden?" and, "We'll shoot you." And this went on every day with threats and, "We'll find it, we'll search, and when we find it, you're all going to die." And I was the spokesman for, for the whole family, because everybody was always hiding. They were afraid, and I was a kid. I couldn't really understand it--what it means, you know, somebody pointing a gun at you. But, at the time...

What did you say to him?

No anything. The Poles before the Polish army-- before they left, they took everything away. It's just that he would--many times I would feel the, the steel of the gun.

Against your head?

Yeah. They're like this, like this--I don't understand that part.

Was this in front of your parents? I mean...

No, everybody would leave and I would stand, you know. I thought I...

Do you dream about that?

Yes. And sometimes go over this with this in my mind many times, and why I did that. And I see it that I really had no concept for what it meant to die, what it meant to be shot--it's still strange to me. It really was just like a conversation. He said, "Ich schieße Sie töten," you know. Huh, what it mean? Nothing.

"I'll shoot you dead," is that it?

Yeah, yeah.

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